Picture this: You want to move a file between your Macs, but you don’t have a flash drive and don’t feel like staring at a blue progress bar twice. Well, fret no more because Apple has made file sharing between computers on your home network a snap to set up – here’s how to do it.
First, open “System Preferences,” which, if not on your dock, is in the “Applications” folder. Click the folder icon labeled “Sharing,” and highlight the “file sharing” option on the left hand side of the screen. Turn on file sharing by clicking the check box in the “on” column. Your “public” folder should now be visible on the network to other Macs, and can be used to share files between them. But what if you want to share a different folder? What if you want the other computers on your network to be able to access your files, but not modify them?
To share other folders on your computer, hit the “+” button underneath the list of shared folders. A Finder window should open and from there you can browse for folders to add to your shared folders list. Some users choose to share their entire computer on the network by adding “Macintosh HD” to the list of shared folders, but this is not recommended as it may allow others to modify important system files and break your computer.
The list of “Users” on the right of the panel allows you to manage the amount of access other people have to your shared files. The “read & write” option allows a user to see the folder as if it were on their own Mac – they can see the files contained within, move files to the folder, and alter the files already there. The “read only” option allows a user to see and use shared files, but does not allow a user to alter them or move files from their computer to the shared folder. If the “write only (drop box)” option is selected, other users cannot see the files in your shared folder – they can only move, or “drop” files into it.
At this point you should be able to see your shared files and folders from other Macs on your network. If not, click the “options” button and make sure that the options to share using “SMB” and “AFP” are both selected. AFP stands for “Apple Filing Protocol,” and is necessary for sharing between Macs – especially those running versions of OS X older than Mavericks (10.9). SMB stands for “Server Message Block,” and is necessary if you want to share between Mac and Windows computers – but more tweaking is required for sharing between the two different systems.
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To share between Mac and Windows machines on the same network, stay in the “options” panel and head to the section labeled “Windows file sharing.” If your Windows username and password is the same as your Mac username and password just click and tick the box on the left to turn it on. If they are different, change the username and password so they match that of your Mac user account, or add an additional user account that matches up with your Windows user account.